Warren Donald Petoskey is an elder of the Waganakising Odawa and Minneconjou Lakotah nations, member of the Bear Clan, and a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Born in Jackson, Michigan on June 3, 1945 to Warren Frank and Juanita Mae Petoskey, he was 9 years old when his great-aunt Ella Petoskey gave him the name Biidassige ("Light that is Coming") in honor of his great-great-grandfather, Ignatius Petoskey (for whom the city of Petoskey, Michigan was named).
Petoskey was ordained as a Christian minister in 1971 after attending a service at The Apostolic Church in Auburn Hills, Michigan. While working as a certified addictions counselor, spiritual traditionalist counselor, and house manager for a Native American treatment program, Petoskey came to understand that his clients often experienced residual effects from the American Indian boarding schools that many (including his father and grandfather, Cornelius Joseph Petoskey) were forced to attend. This realization led Warren to found Dawnland Native Ministries in 1998; based near Petoskey, Michigan, this outreach program endeavors "to build bridges of understanding with all peoples regarding the damage done by America's boarding school policies and their effects on the current generations." To that end, he has traveled around Michigan and across the United States with his wife, Barbara Louise Curton Petoskey, giving presentations regarding historical trauma and boarding school syndrome.
Petoskey is also a poet and essayist; his 2009 memoir, Dancing My Dream, details his childhood, the stories of his family and ancestors, and his spiritualism and way of life. In addition, he has produced an album of Native American music entitled Sacred Dream, which includes music written and performed by him and his family members.